Inclusion in forest carbon markets, from landowners to climate investors
Zack Parisa
Zack Parisa
24 August, 2021 min read

As we work to address the herculean challenge of climate change, one thing rings true – if we don’t do this together, it isn’t going to work. That’s why we’ve made it a priority to include all types of forest landowners in the Natural Capital Exchange. We’ve democratized access to forest carbon markets, and in raising our most recent round of financing for NCX, we’ve made it a priority to have our cap table be more inclusive, too.

To that end, our Series A was joined by a group of thirteen Latinx, Asian Pacific, and Black climate investors, who participated via a dedicated syndicate led by Af Hernandez. These investors come from a variety of backgrounds and are united around their desire to see impactful climate solutions brought to market.

To land the syndicate’s investment, we worked closely alongside Af, cleantech investor and Co-Founder of VCFamilia, who first started discussing the idea with his grad school classmate and our CFO, Gordon Vermeer. We found unity around the idea that when investors represent a variety of cultures, the founders they invest in and, in turn, the people those founders add to their teams tend to be more diverse as well. Plainly put, this is something the climate tech industry needs.

Af Hernandez said, “Underrepresented communities in low-income areas have historically been disproportionately affected by climate change. Therefore, we need diverse teams and diverse companies tackling the climate challenges of our generation to ensure our communities are represented. That is why diversity in investment is so crucial. By gaining access to competitive deals, Black, Latinx, and other underrepresented minority investors can build their track records and ultimately increase representation in the climate investment space, improving outcomes for communities today and down the road.”

Half of any carry earned by the syndicate will be donated to the Center for Heirs Property Preservation or a similar organization. Heirs works at the intersection of forestry and racial equity, helping Black families protect and keep their family land.

Inclusion sits at the foundation of the NCX mission. Every day we work with this in mind, guiding our market design, its values, and where we are going. By weaving this guiding principle into our fundraising, we’re working to ensure everyone can create and benefit from a more sustainable future. We’re grateful to have this cohort of investors as the newest members of the NCX family.

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about the author

Zack Parisa

Zack Parisa

Co-Founder and CEO
Zack Parisa is the co-founder and CEO of NCX. Over the last decade, he has developed and pioneered precision forestry tools that are revolutionizing the way that forests can be measured, valued, and managed. Using satellites, cloud computing, and machine learning, NCX worked with Microsoft to create "Basemap," the first high-resolution forest inventory of the United States. It is now using this data to build new markets for forest values beyond timber, such as carbon, wildlife habitat, and fire risk. Zack is a forester and biometrician by training. He earned an MFS from Yale University, and a BS in forestry from Mississippi State University. He is a 2021 candidate for the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award.
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